School bus drivers often have great relationships with their young passengers.
After all, bus drivers are the first school officials kids in the morning and the last ones to see children in the afternoon. But recently in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, one school bus driver was confronted with the sad story of a seven-year-old girl who said she couldn't wake her parents.
The student somehow managed to dress herself and get to school on time, but after trying to rouse them for an entire day, she finally decided to tell someone.
The bus driver reported the incident and police later found two bodies inside the young girl's house, both dead of suspected drug overdoses.
Also inside the home were three other children: a five-year-old, a three-year-old, and a nine-month-old baby. They were okay but taken for observation at a hospital before being placed with family services.
The little one was clearly having trouble understanding the situation. One interaction that she had with an officer on the scene paints a heartbreaking picture.
The child came up to Officer Michelle Burton with her homework with a simple request to sign off on it. In Burton's words, "She said, ‘I did my work.’ She pulled it out and showed it to us. It was math homework. ‘Which number is greater? Which number is odd or even?’ I told her, ‘Sweetie, you probably won’t have to go to school tomorrow. But where you’re going is going to have everything you need.’”
Drug overdoses have an enormous effect on families, and in McKeesport, they are all too common. In a recent report, officials stated that there is "an opioid overdose epidemic in the U.S., and Allegheny County is not immune." There were 422 opioid-related deaths in the area last year.
Governor Tom Wolf added that “addiction too often is an invisible problem. But in Pennsylvania, the problem is visible -- in the lives lost, the families broken, the communities shaken.”
But this isn't just a Pennsylvania problem. Nationwide, opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers kill more and more people each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What can we do to ensure no more young children have to live through these horrors? The answer to that question can't come soon enough.
(via The Washington Post)